Peppers King Square

Nearing the half-way point of a time sensitive build, Hickory Group needed to find a precast supplier, fast. Austral Precast was the perfect fit.

Quick Facts

Hickory Building Systems

Project Tourism International Architecture

Mode Modular Developments


Kings Square, Perth WA


Working in partnership with the Mantra Group and Mode Developments, Victorian-based Hickory Building Systems completed the construction of Australia’s tallest prefabricated hotel – Peppers Kings Square in Perth – in November 2016.

The 4.5-star hotel comprises 120 studio apartments and conference facilities over 17 levels and is situated in front of the recently opened Perth Arena. The project also features a ground floor lobby and restaurant area with exterior pedestrian arcade along Shafto Lane as well as a Function area on Level 1.

Employing their proprietary Hickory Building Systems method for the first time in Western Australia, Hickory offered an impressively reduced construction program by prefabricating most of the project structure, façade and bathrooms off-site.

The unique construction methodology enabled the project to be completed in just 11 months with prefabricated components installed in just 11 weeks, easing the logistics and access issues involved with building on a small site footprint.

Hickory’s patented façade system enabled the building exterior to be completed prior to delivery, with the striking glass façade accentuated by perforated sun-shade screens spanning levels 2 – 17. 

As construction progressed, Hickory found themselves needing a precast supplier, and the tight build schedule left no time to waste.

“Through our research for local suppliers we discovered that the product range at Austral Precast, in particular the Austral Deck product, could be utilised with our building system and suited our needs for this particular project,” recalls Peter Michaltsis, Project Manager at Hickory Group. “Comparing the data from our research, we selected Austral Precast due to greater value for money, quality and efficiencies.”

“We were approached by Hickory while the project had already started,” says John Castro, Estimator at Austral Precast WA. “Austral Precast begun delivery of panels from Level 6 onwards. We got them up to speed.”

Thanks to Austral Precast’s strong customer service and capacity to turn around quality precast elements in a short period of time, they were able to accelerate Hickory Group’s program, enabling the project to be delivered in full and on time.

Furthermore, Austral Precast assisted with delivery of the original precaster’s panels; “We provided an additional service to receive the already manufactured panels from the other precaster to our yard and send them vertically on our trucks. This was a key factor in speeding up the program for this project.”

As the project was nearing completion, Hickory Group saw an opportunity to convert the originally designed Bondek in-situ roof slab to Austral Precast’s Austral Deck Flooring Solution, which would further fast-track the program.
“The Austral Deck for the top floor was suggested by Austral precast as we saw it as an opportunity to provide a slab system which had some two-way action in it which would overcome the propping issues they would have with the Bondek system,” Castro explains. “The top level also had a 25kL water tank on it, which the slab had to support.”

In less than four weeks Austral Precast completed the engineering for the slab design, shop drawings and manufacturing of the Austral Deck.
The Austral Deck solution provided a seamless surface without the need for false ceilings. Installation time was drastically reduced as service conduits were able to be cast into the Austral Deck prior to manufacturing, and potential challenges such as not being able to prop in various areas and accommodating the loads of the large water tank were overcome during thorough design and engineering of the Austral Deck.

The biggest benefit of the Austral Deck is, in Michaltsis’ words, that “Austral Deck has greater span capabilities and we could use our Hickory Building Systems system to support the deck, removing the need for additional back propping and formwork.”

Overall, Austral Precast’s involvement in the Peppers project was instrumental for the exceptional quality and speed of Hickory Group’s build. “We achieved a three-day cycle on a 400m2 floor plate without affecting the fit-out trades below. This allowed us to build rapidly and meet our delivery deadlines,” concludes Michaltsis. “The client has been very impressed with the speed at which we were able to complete the job.”

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